In her installations and performances, Aki Sasamoto uses visual metaphor and absurdist humor to explore life’s biggest questions and most mundane activities, which often converge in the everyday objects she uses. In previous performances, the artist tested her psychological breaking point on a trampoline; worked through hygiene neurosis with the help of a modified washer and dryer; and conveyed her romantic relationships as a line of empty beer bottles falling into a trashcan one by one after a happy hour gone wrong.
Sasamoto’s installation and performance, Squirrel Ways (2022), which premieres in the United States at Arts and Letters, has the semblance of a living room. It is constructed from modular shutters, doors, and mulberry-papered sliding screens. Colorful personal objects are faintly visible through the screens, whose indeterminate design falls somewhere between door, room divider, and wall. A clothesline hangs overhead with a day’s laundry.
In a series of improvised performances, Sasamoto follows the questions this fluid environment raises. At what point does outside become inside? At what time in the cycle does dirty laundry become clean? At what depth does the surface of the ocean begin? The ambiguity of transition, or the “thickness of the border,” as Sasamoto puts it, is something the artist considers with deadpan humor as she transforms the work’s movable barriers into drawing surfaces and peepholes, or discovers the fishing lures, rulers, and sponges squirreled away within its paper compartments.
Sasamoto will perform Squirrel Ways on select Saturday evenings at sunset in March, April, and May.
Saturday, March 18, 7:06pm (sunset) - reserve tickets
Saturday, April 8, 7:28pm (sunset) - reserve tickets
Saturday, May 20, 8:11pm (sunset) - reserve tickets
Free guided tours of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, followed by a visit to Aki Sasamoto’s installation Squirrel Ways, are offered throughout the spring - RSVP required
Wednesday, March 29, 10am
Friday, April 14, 4pm
Wednesday, April 19, 4pm
Wednesday, May 10, 10am
American Academy of Arts and Letters
633 West 155th Street
New York, NY 10032